The extra session. The 5th Quarter. Overtime. After Sunday night's Triple-OT victory over Denver, the Celtics have now played a whopping NINE overtime games in their first 50. This accounts for a total of 70 extra minutes (5 single OTs, 3 double OTs and now a triple OT), the equivalent of an extra 1.5 games. Boston's record is now 5-4 in overtime. Google only provides answers for 95% of the random unusual questions regarding trivial sports information. When searching "Most overtime games in an NBA Season," Google struggles. I decided to check ESPN's "extended standings" as far back as they go (2001-02).
Only ten teams have had 10 overtime games in a single season since 2001. The Celtics and Mavericks have both played 9 and have 32 games remaining this season. If either can manage to force three extra sessions over the final 32, they will have set what I claim to be the modern NBA record for most overtime games in a regular season. Hooray.
The OT Leaders
Portland, who fittingly finished 41-41 (can't get any more even than that) played two OT games in it's final three, including a meaningless double-OT thriller to the Lakers in the season finale. Toronto, who finished an underwhelming 33-49 in 03-04, finished 6-5 in OT contests and 27-44 in regulation games. Sadly, Toronto and Portland didn't make it to OT in their two meetings with each other that year.
Eight other teams have played 10 OT games since 2001. Only one of those 10 teams (2010-11 OKC who went 8-2) won more than 6 of those OT games.
3 Points or Less since 2000
That same year Portland and Toronto each played 11 overtime games, Toronto played a staggering number of games that resulted in a final score determined by 3 points or less (20), while Portland's 11 OT thrillers was nearly the same (13) as it's number of games decided by 3 or less. Strangely, there isn't much of a correlation between OT games and very close final scores. In 03-04, the 36-46 Celtics (Perk's rookie year! Vin Baker! Walter McCarty! Jiri Welsch!) finished with 19 games decided by 3 or less, but only 1 of their 82 went to OT.
In 2001-02, Houston (28-54) played a ridiculous 26 games decided by 3 or less. Record in those games: 11-15.
In 2005-06, Atlanta (26-56) played 24 games decided by 3 or less. In those 24, they went an even 12-12.
In 2008-09, Indiana (36-46) played 21 of these nail-biters, resulting in a 9-12 record.
During last year's strike-shortened season of 66 games, Golden State (23-43), but losers of 17 of their final 20 games, the Warriors finished a miserable 5-12 in games decided by 3 points or less. Not that they were tanking the final 20 games, of course. Easy to pretend otherwise, when you lose by 3 points every other game.
What do teams that play many close games have in common? They're not very good.
Record Dominance: 10 Points or More, since 1980
In case you're wondering which team has spanked the NBA on a nightly basis this year, that would be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are an insane 28-2 in games decided by 10 points or more.
Since 1990, the teams with the highest winning percentages in games decided by 10 points or more:
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